TPM News

The White House released President Obama's Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech. Here's the full text:

Your Majesties, Your Royal Highnesses, distinguished members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, citizens of America, and citizens of the world:

I receive this honor with deep gratitude and great humility. It is an award that speaks to our highest aspirations -- that for all the cruelty and hardship of our world, we are not mere prisoners of fate. Our actions matter, and can bend history in the direction of justice.

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Republicans say Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) let the cat out of the bag on the Senate health care reform compromise today. After the ardent public option supporter extolled the virtues of the Senate compromise plan that expands Medicare coverage, Republicans seized on his comments as evidence that the plan was a backdoor to government-run, single-payer coverage.

Weiner told the New York Daily News that the Medicare buy-in plan under discussion in the Senate "would perhaps get us on the path to a single payer model."

"[T]his is one idea I like a lot," he told the paper.

Sens. John Thune (R-SD) and John McCain (R-AZ) seized on Weiner's comments when they stopped by the Senate press gallery to talk Medicare with reporters this evening. They clearly enjoyed attacking the fragile Democratic compromise with the words of one of the party's own.

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House Democrats now have another open swing seat to defend in 2010, with Rep. Brian Baird (D-WA) announcing his retirement.

Baird's district could have a close race. It voted twice for George W. Bush by narrow margins -- 48%-46% in 2000, and 50%-48% in 2004 -- before switching to Barack Obama in 2008 by a 53%-45% margin.

The SEIU fired back at Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell after he and other prominent Republicans dismissed the Democratic health care reform package in the Senate as a "job killer bill." McConnell joined the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in calling on Democrats to scrap the bill and start over.

SEIU Secretary-Treasurer Anna Burger said the coalition "desperate to throw a monkey wrench into the system and kill the bill entirely" now that the Senate is "on the verge of passing real reform."

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Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) appeared on Hardball this evening, and dispensed some of his signature wit against the Republicans: Telling former Vice President Dick Cheney to "STFU," speculating that gasoline would only cost a dollar per gallon if former President George W. Bush had let Saudi Prince Abdullah "get to second base," and regretting that it's too late to impeach Cheney.

Chris Matthews asked Grayson about Cheney's recent condemnations of President Obama, for giving what Cheney called "aid and comfort to the enemy" -- which is the Constitution's definition of treason -- by putting Khalid Sheikh Mohammed on trial in civilian courts.

Grayson: I don't know. You know, on the Internet there's an acronym that's used to apply to situations like this. It's called "STFU." I don't think I can say that on the air, but I think you know what that means.

Matthews: Well, give me the first part.

Grayson: "Shut."

Matthews: Oh! I got you. Stop talking, in crude language. Well, I don't think you're gonna get him to do that.


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The New Jersey state senate will delay a vote on legalizing gay marriage which had been scheduled for Thursday.

The senate president's office confirmed to TPM that the vote will wait, pending a committee hearing in the state assembly. The delay was requested by the measure's sponsors, Sens. Raymond Lesniak (D) and Loretta Weinberg (D).

"Senator Lesniak and I believe that the public needs another opportunity to engage legislators on this issue," Weinberg said in a statement, citing the hundreds of supporters and opponents who flooded a senate committee hearing on Monday.

But the assembly speaker, Democrat Joseph Roberts, warned that he has not yet scheduled the judiciary committee hearing.

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As readers are well aware, the line of the day is that the emerging public option compromise in the Senate can't and won't be finalized until the Congressional Budget Office weighs in on the cost.

That raises the question of whether the negotiators thought the ideas sent to CBO--Medicare buy-in etc.--were worthy on the merits. I asked Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE), whose objections to the public option helped lead to the new plan being discussed, whether he would have a problem with any of the options even if the CBO give them a passing grade.

"I'm not aware of anything that was raising serious objections about it, I think it was about, 'Well, that sounds okay, let's see how it scores,'" Nelson said.

That's likely to quiet some heartburn among leading Democrats, who really need this new initiative to succeed, so they can get 60 votes to pass the bill. Now let's wait for CBO.

Embattled South Carolina governor Mark Sanford may have won an unexpected reprieve.

A panel of state lawmakers voted by 6-1 today not to move forward with impeachment charges, which stemmed from the the governor's legendary Argentinean romp this summer, as well as his use of state aircraft. The legislators said Sanford's misdeeds -- among them, leaving the state for five days to visit his mistress, without notifying the lieutenant governor of his absence -- were not so serious as to merit his removal from office.

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Though the health care bill is far from signed, one thing is becoming clear - when it does become law, some of the reforms won't kick in for several years.

Political hands are worried that delay could spell trouble in the 2010 midterm Congressional elections and, tougher still, in 2012 when President Obama starts a reelection bid.

"It's a huge problem, a bigger picture problem," said James Boyce, a Democratic consultant who has worked on presidential campaigns and who advises the team behind Public Option Please.

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